Hyderabad:  Complaints of COVID-19 patients from Gandhi Hospital being discharged during late hours have been on the rise. In the latest incident, a 65-year-old COVID-19 patient from Bagh Amberpet was discharged at 11.30 pm on April 17. However, without any transport amid the lockdown, the senior citizen was left to fend for himself.

It was only after waiting for over two hours that his relatives intervened and managed to arrange transport for him. Speaking to NewsMeter, the patient’s nephew Rehaan (name changed) said, “My uncle, who was a COVID-19 patient was tested negative the third time and was discharged from Gandhi Hospital on Friday. But the hospital officials or authorities concerned did not arrange for an ambulance or any alternate mode of transport for him. He was left waiting at 11.30 pm in the night, outside the main gate of the hospital. He is also a diabetes patient, with high blood pressure, but he was not taken care of.”

Further, the relative of the 65-year-old patient alleged that even the police did not respond to their distress call. Rehaan said even though they had tried calling Chilkaluguda police station for transport assistance, their complaint was neglected. “I am aware that the police is quite busy due to the lockdown, but they had arranged for helpline numbers to call in the case of an emergency. Some arrangement could have been made from their side. When I called up Chilkalguda PS, they simply said that this was not the right time to discharge and hung up,” said Rehaan.

The 65-year-old patient was finally able to reach home after his relatives called up Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who arranged for a private cab. By the time he reached home, it was around 1.30 am, his relative said.  The patient was a participant of the Tableeghi Jamaat conference held in Delhi, and was admitted to Gandhi Hospital on March 31. After 18 days of treatment, he tested negative for COVID-19.

This is not the first time that COVID-19 patients in Hyderabad have struggled to reach home. Earlier on April 13th, a COVID-19 patient, a resident of Secunderabad, along with his 9-year-old daughter were discharged at around 11.30 pm in the night from Gandhi Hospital. The father daughter duo had to wait until the next morning to reach home in an ambulance.

The Hyderabad city police had launched a COVID-19 helpline number to facilitate essential services on March 27th. But the incidents show requests from patients at odd hours are not being entertained by the police.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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